Inner-city safari at iKhaya Lodge

"It’s for those people who want to feel the flavour of Africa"

When people come to Cape Town, they are mostly surprised how untypically African the city is. If you are looking for that African feeling, then iKhaya Lodge is the place to stay. iKhaya means 'home' in Xhosa and is a small African three-star boutique hotel in the centre of town.

If you plan on exploring the city by foot, this is for you. Within five minutes you’ll be in the centre of town, and bus stations (MyCiTi bus as well as the topless red bus) are just around the corner: no rental cars needed. Table Mountain is a five minute cab ride away, Camps Bay and Clifton beaches are just ten, plus the museums are within easy walking distance.

With all of this, it’s still a peaceful and quiet place to sleep. iKhaya Lodge offers accommodation for 35 people: standard rooms with double beds and en-suite bathrooms, self-catering loft apartments with two bedrooms and two en-suite bathrooms as well as self-catering single level apartments with two bedrooms and one bathroom.

Depending on your room or apartment, there are views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head or city views. Cute cafés and restaurants such as local spot Maria’s populate Dunkley Square (where the lodge is located). Ruth Kamau from Nairobi, Kenya took over the iKhaya Lodge in 2006 (it’s in its 12th year). iKhaya Lodge is a family-run business based on Ruth and her brother’s childhood dream to have a guesthouse one day.

"We are proudly African"

"Accommodation at iKhaya is very safari-like," says an energetic Ruth. "It’s for those people who want the flavour of Africa. Here you wake up and know you’re in Africa." It is cosy and comfy, yet simple and fresh. "So much is handmade here: the beds and doors are carved by hand as are the light covers which are made out of recycled materials. There’s a lot of wood and leather; everything has a natural feel," continues Ruth.

"iKhaya is a celebration of Africans and African art". A wall in the restaurant is evidence of this African diaspora: from Oprah Winfrey to Marvin Gaye to Nelson Mandela and Johnny Clegg. "We are proudly African without a doubt." iKhaya is an extension of Ruth’s personality indeed. "I love people. We want people to feel welcomed. I want people to feel at home. "To be of service makes me happy and excited."

"If you work here you have to have the desire to be of service." And the 12 strong Pan-African staff are dedicated to providing memorable service and the results are a high number of returning guests and many recommendations. "We aim for five-star service," says Ruth.

Great value for money

A continental breakfast is included in the room rate and includes different types of cereal, yogurt, cheeses as well as cold meats and baked goods. A hot breakfast is available â la carte. And, the restaurant is also open to the public.

iKhaya Lodge is known for great value for money; depending on the season you pay from R550 to R850 per night for the standard rooms. It doesn’t only host tourists, NGOs and companies love to accommodate their visitors at ikhaya Lodge as well as to use it as a conference venue.

Worth a visit as a Capetonian too. Spend some time in the restaurant on a lazy Saturday afternoon – in Summer every last Saturday of the month they offer live music from 3-8pm (R50 cover charge). Monthly Tango Milonga’s also draw in the Tango aficionados in Cape Town to the restaurant space.

iKhaya Lodge is a great and affordable place for the 'African spice of life' as Ruth calls it - for accommodation, conferences, weddings and other functions and also just for a lunch with some African vibes and a very friendly and flexible team.

"We want everyone to have a special time," concludes Ruth. "You matter."

by Antonia Heil

P.S. iKhaya Lodge offers complimentary and safe parking. Shuttles to and from the airport are also available.

The restaurant is open seven days a week. Their new menu 'Love brewed in an African pot' offers East African dishes such as a chicken dish from Ethiopia called 'Doro Wot', a Tanzanian mince meat dish with spinach and pap called 'Mchicha Shima' as well as other continental dishes.

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